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metropolitan area network

metropolitan area network (MAN) A network intermediate between a local area network (LAN) and a wide area network (WAN); the term was originally used to refer to a network serving a single town or district. There are no formal rules to determine whether a given network should be classified as a LAN, MAN, or WAN, and the differences lie as much in their style of organization as in their technology or geographical or physical size.

A MAN may either be operated as a joint activity by a number of separate organizations, which may set up a jointly owned enterprise to operate the MAN, or it may be operated by a company that specializes in the operation of networks and acts as a managing agent on behalf of the organizations that require the MAN. The MAN interconnects the LANs of the organizations that operate the MAN, but may also provide immediate connection to the MAN for organizations that do not operate their own internal LAN.

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metropolitan area network

metropolitan area network (MAN): see local area network.

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